As a black girl, living in Brighton, England

Image result for brighton town

Picture gotten from-Proud Brighton

A lot of black people I’ve been privileged to converse with are skeptical about having to move to or study in Brighton. The popular buzz of Brighton being known as a major gay city also tends to affirm their dislike for this beautiful town.

I moved to Brighton September 2014 with the sole purpose of studying and not paying much attention to the city as I wasn’t an outing type of person before arriving. I was enticed by the beach and the pebbles by the sea front during an open day visit in my foundation year which was supported by EF, Oxford (the foundation institution I had attended). The differences I had picked up with the culture, style and people compared to Oxford’s made me choose the University of Brighton instead of Oxford Brookes which had offered me an admission prior.

Firstly, I haven’t come across as many gay people as I had predicted on coming down here. Even during the gay pride festival that is usually hosted here on a yearly basis, I rarely see gay couples or find a group of gay people sitting, walking or chilling. It’s probably just me who isn’t looking hard enough. To clarify, having gay people in this city actually in my own opinion makes it more accepting and tolerable compared to other small and vibrant towns in England.

Secondly, as a black girl and as one who appreciates her cultural background and race, it wasn’t a problem building a community of friends that share the same interests as me. As there are two universities in Brighton, University of Brighton and University of Sussex, this city is filled with both home and abroad students and therefore finding where you may belong isn’t a problem. There are clubs and communities open for all kinds of people and interests within and outside the schools’ premises. This is to say that every year, the population of blacks admitted into both universities are always significantly higher than the previous year so, don’t panic if you’re worried about this factor.

Thirdly, I’m quite a foodie and quite traditional as well as I enjoy cooking my own meals. Most times going out spontaneously with my friends to small restaurants and food places at the city’s center allows me appreciate different cultures and what they eat without having to visit their countries. Brighton is diverse with a plethora of local and international restaurants representing countries from across the globe, I however have exploited this privilege as a black girl who has come from Africa. I have tasted and tried cooking most of these dishes myself, as well as recommending them to friends.

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Picture gotten from-Brighton lanes

Racism. Socio-culturally, Brighton is very diverse and as a black girl I haven’t had a reason to question my skin colour and where I’ve come from since living here. It’s so diverse and free-spirited that I have only met two guys who actually admitted to being originally born and bred in Brighton, my co-worker at a night shift and the maintenance guy for my rented place. Compared to Budapest, Hungary, I never get conscious of my surroundings and certain places I tread because of the colour of my skin or the fear of what people may be thinking. Brighton is one of the least racist towns you can ever think of in England.

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Picture gotten from-Yablink

If you love greens and parks, books and rides, if you love events and dances, good night outs and games, Brighton is the place for you. This city is not anti-black or anti-any other race, It accepts, tolerates and builds with you as long as you are open.

The disadvantage however, for me is the fact that it is quite expensive to live in. Apart from that I can see myself settling and building a good life here as a black girl if I wanted to. It’s become my mini home.

Dyna Ekwueme Copyright, 2017.

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Sunrise in the south: Brighton

Brighton Wheel from PierPicture from- University of Brighton

These clouds don’t wait,

so does the rain and the warm air.

You can hear the cycles wheeling down the hills,

the decker buses and the long ones too.

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Well, it’s full on.

Horns, stammers, faces and wild-walking people radiating innocence,

you feel the sense of hearing the mornings,

mondays laughing at faces, still the sun wakes.

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At the beach,

the tip of the waters awakens the fine pebbles, watering it further for doves,

for their warmth, ground and place.

A display of serenity and beauty for tourists.

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When the sun rise, the city does rise with it too

I sit outside my window counting heads, hearts of those that keep us green.

I sing aloud our country song and play my home strings

because I found a home in this home

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It’s nearly always a perfect beginning,

one that never ends especially here in the south-east.

Even the birds in Brighton tweet to the vibe.

Here’s all I know about sunrise in the south.

Dyna Ekwueme Copyright, 2015.

Summer as a carer

Each day I go to work is a different day entirely. There is always something new to learn, another war story to hear, another rare life to know about, something we could regard as insane now to wow at. Most days I come home happy and other days it ends sad. Whatever the case may be, I’m sure to learn something new every time I go to work. Working as a care assistant for an agency has exposed me to little towns around Brighton, far east and far west, it made me realize how a lot of  families that have got elderly people are dependent of care homes to aid them look after their own. It has broadened my understanding about what the outside world looks like when it comes to some disabilities and genetic diseases and most of all it has drawn me closer to what I have always wanted to do my whole life, look after the old.

Yes,I know it’s an odd thing to be passionate about but it’s a wonderful experience and joy to make an old person happy, think about your grand ma/pa! Some people would be wandering what I do for 12 hours with old people, isn’t it boring? No it isn’t. The truth is that some times I spend an extra hour with them before going home. Old folks are the sweetest people to be with if you are willing to have patience with them, think of a matured baby who knows more than you do. They are the easiest people to talk and relate with no matter where you think you are from. When they tell stories, it feels so natural, so doable with no forms of exaggeration. When I found this job, it took me back to what I had always wanted and I’m sure not looking back to anything else other than geriatrics.

Once, a 98 year old woman told me how she eloped at 19 years of age to go marry her boyfriend, they were wedded by a bishop in London and they moved to Scotland because of the war between Germany and England. They settled there and had kids. She told me of her attachment to her church and how the church brought her up. She wrote too. Poems of everything and anything that she caught sight of. No one really took her writings seriously, she said, but never for once did she stop writing. She owned a farm and reared 72 cows with her husband and children. I told her that I write too and she was amazed. I could see through her smile that she was much delighted to must have met a girl who does the same thing she did. After I had told her so, she reached for a big album that looked like a picture album. This woman had written 1000 poems from when she was little to her very age and her family had made an album for them. I was short of words. I started skimming through and tried reading one of it which was titled “the same old theatre”. What shocked me more was that she recited it along with me and I asked her how she was able to do that at her age and she said to me “imaginations are lies but reality is a tale”.

I would never forget her. I was pained that I wasn’t posted at her care home the next day and more pained still that I still haven’t been posted there. She was the sweetest thing I ever met, she never gave me an advise but I take her life as one. I can’t put down the whole conversation we had on here because it was more than just words. I had been taken to the earliest 1990’s with her story,her life was an inspiration and I’m glad to must have met her and cared for her.

If you enjoy what you do even with all bitter sides, you would always find good in it. I am happy to must have worked and still working as a carer this summer. School starts in two weeks plus and I’ll so miss doing this 5 days a week and 12 hours for 24. This is my career passion and working as a carer is just a foundation to more.

Dyna Ekwueme Copyright, 2015.

Secrets to trusting that “it will work”

“We did not search for survivors, but those who survived for our search party”

Dyna Ekwueme

When we really want something, whether it’s a job, material thing or basic needs, we go beyond our might to see that we get it. Sometimes we lose ourselves and part of us in hope that it would come to be a sacrifice for that which we are yet to achieve and sometimes, we never get what we truly want. Before I unravel these secrets, I want you to distinguish between luck, chance and results of work. Trusting that “it will work” in my context does not mean gambling or maybe hoping to hit a lottery or even wishing that you had something. Trusting that “it will work” here means working and putting relentless effort to see that you get what you want. If you are thinking otherwise, these secrets aren’t for you.

First,

Set your priorities

You may be hoping to buy a car, but is that really what you want? Is it worth it for the time being? So many of us do not make scale of preference. We want everything and anything whenever we think we need it. We pursue irrelevant things to tick off our bucket list. We want to feel that self satisfaction even though it would cost us borrowing from others but at the end of the day, it’s our loss. To see that something works out for you, you have to set your priorities, differentiate your needs from your wants and set time for each and every one of them.

Work not Luck

On my way from the office after working, I forget my car keys and the office is closed. A woman with the same car as mine in the parking lot opens her car and is set to leave. I ask her to lend me her key so I can open my car and get the bicylce I bought earlier that day. Fortunately, her key opens my car, that is luck!. Running the track 5 hours a day prior to qualifying for the olympics game is work!. When there is no work, your hopes tend to be low, therefore you trust less that something would eventually work out.

Believing in possibilities

We tend to access something before we approach it and that I believe is being human but at the same time we withdraw when we compare the statistics and chance of it not working. We withdraw when people say it is impossible to achieve, we say “no” to ourselves to validate our thoughts about what we truly want. Let me tell you, most stories we hear and believe in are not the ones that everyone does but stories of people who dared and refused to believe in impossibilities. For you to trust that something would work out for you, you need to believe that it will work. You need to see yourself getting it.

Patience

Patience is not just virtue, it is everything. When we lose hope on what we hope for, we never get it. It could take years for you to make that wise decision you’ve always wanted to make but the outcome is everlasting. We should not give up on what we truly want for ourselves even when It rains too long for us to believe that sunshine would ever come. It wiill come. The phrase I made before you started reading this piece (” we did not search for survivors, but those who survived for our search party”) encompasses patience, if you can hold on alittle bit longer, what you want would find you.

Achievements/Results

I’ve seen people that  give less time to studying when I give more and they come out with flying colours. It’s not that their IQs are different from mine, but because they know what they are hoping to achieve at the end of that little time they are using to study. They know their weak points and they make it their challege and excel. It’s not just working in hope that it will work but working for a purpose. How was the work done? Was it frivolous or prudent?

Spirituality

You may say that for every write up I give I emphasize on this alot. Yes! because for every physical being there is a spiritual attachment. If you have one, let it be your point of contact to what you want, let it be the foundation and peak of what you are hoping to achieve. I believe in meditation and reflection with who keeps me alive. Find your spirituality and you’ll see how your trust would never fail you.

These are my opinion on trusting that “it will work”. Your thoughts and opinions too matter because at every phase of our lives we crave for something. Do share what you think in the reply box below. Thank you.

Dyna Ekwueme Copyright, 2015.

Renascence #31

The end is always better than the beginning especially when you have gained the best from what you started with.

What makes you a changed person for good makes you a better person too. You have been tolerating a lot that you shouldn’t and suddenly you step up and speak for yourself. You have been doing something that your conscience blames you for all the time and think its time to stop and you have. You have been with someone or something that you think devalues you, shreds your worth and never appreciates your efforts and you thought its time to let go and you have. You have been procrastinating and postponing something that you feel you should have started a long time ago and you decided that the time is now. Do not be afraid of the new. Don’t hate yourself for the change. Embrace it and explore it as much as you can. You are welcome to your own renascence.

For a month, we explored varieties and aspects of humanity relating it with our own purpose. What we’ve missed out on doing, what we should/ought to be doing, reflecting on those questions about life that we need to decipher. It has been a blissful one for me knowing that today doesn’t feel like 31 days ago.

Even though I have a small space, I have learned to fill it with good. My time has been more productive for me lately and the way I perceive people and things have also changed hugely. Just yesterday I started a book and am hoping to finish writing it by Christmas. It’s been an amazing journey for me and I truly enjoyed every bit of my exploration especially with the positive responses and thoughts I got from most of you. It feels like a rebirth for me.

Today was a good one, with my examination resit timetable out. I’m just sort of glad about it, knowing that soon after the examination, my second year starts. It feels like I have nothing to lose but just something to get me occupied during this break.

It is kind of sad that this series is ending today but am happy all the same. I feel like this is an achievement and I pray you also gained a lot from it too.

The good in me, the good in us is what others would learn from, it is a reflection of our unsaid, it is what you give without asking for anything in return. I urge us all to keep being the best we can and to keep projecting positivity for a better world and a better us.

I want to appreciate us all for this journey. Thank you for leading me through and supporting me every step of the way. You are part of this achievement.

#TheGoodInMe

Dyna Ekwueme Copyright, 2015.

Shout for a purpose #30

Miracles do happen, even in our own disbelieves they happen without signs.

Ever heard of the story of a girl in a moderately populated middle school that asked for permission to use the loo during her English class? She got locked up by a faulty bolted door in the toilet and kept screaming and crying for help. Unfortunately, no one came to her aid. Banging the door real hard to push it down was in vain and she panicked and wailed. She thought of her teacher who might have thought she left the class just to miss her lecture and also thought about herself, the fear of never coming out of the toilet again. Then she began to pray, asking God to do something. She had no prayer point in mind but she believed that God was there with her and knows what she really wanted at that point. Immediately she opened her eyes, she touched the door in disbelieve only to realize that it was opened already. Washing her face off with the tap water, she smiled at herself knowing that she has just been crying for a door that was open. She didn’t know if that was a miracle or just a mere hallucination. She just couldn’t forget that day.

That Girl in the toilet was me. I grew up realizing that it was truly a miracle and till today I feared letting it known to people because I would only be laughed at. What miracle can ever happen in the toilet? That is what most people would ask I guess. People give testimonies of their redemption or success from/in something and it never pushes me to say mine. I feel most times that there is nothing huge in my life to tell people, no serious miracle whatsoever. Nonetheless, when I take a deep look into my life, most favours that I regard as luck are miracles.

Perhaps you are reading this and you totally relate with what I’m saying, it wouldn’t do you any harm to share with others the things that you conquer. People get inspirations from it. People survive from other people’s miracles. You might say you don’t have one, consider waking up every morning, breathing, going back to sleep and dreaming. Are all these favours? or just luck?

Not everyone believes in God or prayers or even miracles but I know every one at some point in their lives must have been redeemed from something. It takes nothing to share your experience with the world. It’s never too little or short. It’s your experience and people would learn from it.

It is quite sunny today and am loving the weather, hope you all are having a good day too? I would be glad to have you share your thoughts in the reply box below. Thank You.

#TheGoodInMe

Dyna Ekwueme Copyright, 2015.